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One strategy parents can implement in a moment of crisis after a natural disaster is to bring as much predictability and structure as possible to a chaotic situation. A way to do this, and a strategy implemented in the Neuropsychiatric Special Care (NSC) Program at Children's Hospital Colorado, is to write a social story.
A social story is a brief factual story about the details of what is currently happening and what will be happening in the near future in the life of the individual the story is written for. We write these stories at Children's Colorado for a patient who is about to undergo a procedure such as an x-ray or sleep study.
In the context of a fire, for example, a social story a mom writes for her daughter might go something like this:
Social stories can also be helpful in these situations of loss and grief, to show how the present situation may appear dark, but that there is hope and comfort if we continue to read.
Schemper noted that Carol Gray, Director of The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding in Zeeland, Michigan, is credited with developing and defining social stories, initially created to aid those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
If you would like to make an appointment for your child to speak with a member of Children's Colorado's Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Team, call the Intake Team at 720-777-6200. If this is an emergency, call 911.